You know the feeling all too well — you are at work, in class, or navigating any social gathering, and your body calls from deep within, beckoning you to relieve it … or else. Gotta Go takes that feeling and makes it into a damn, charming little game.
In its aim to create a fun, casual arcade throwback, Gotta Go succeeds. The art style reminds me of older flash games I used to play, that’s if they were made in the HD era. You play as Gus; a nondescript, red bathroom gender portrait styled character who must navigate past his similar-looking, blue coworkers on a quest to make it to the bathroom in a 90s-era office. There are three difficulties — Buttered Toast, Cheeseburger and Burrito Diablo—which are respectively, very easy, very medium and very hard.
The main goal of the six short levels is to make it to the bathroom before your “Gastric Gauge” depletes, meaning you soil yourself right where it empties. While you are told at the beginning of each level how much time you have, there is no countdown until the last 25 or so seconds.
To aid your quest, you can pick up Bepto Pismol or let out a fart. However, every coworker wants to talk your ear off. You can listen to them and go through a series of arrow key taps to progress, meaning you avoid conversation for a precious few seconds, or you can be rude and tell them to shut it. The latter gets you in hot water with Human Resources, as does sprinting and farting in an area where your fellow employees walk through.
Your standing with HR is shown in a “Behavior Meter,” which saves its status between levels and can be restored if lessened through picking up TPS reports and filing them. Another option is hiding as coworkers pass in plants, which turned out to be my favorite option due to the AI. As soon as I entered a plant area, the NPC following me would snap to it and comically change direction.
Let me also offer this word of warning: I first played without the tutorial, and I feel like it needs to be said that I failed hard, so I decided to play the tutorial. If you pick up this game, I recommend you do the same.
The art style, as mentioned before, is like old flash games received a visual and dimensional upgrade. Each person looks exactly like the bathroom figures we see on signs, which aids the game’s tone well. In that you must navigate this buzzing hive to do your business. Each map looks great, as do the character models.
Going cartoony was a great move, and it helps keep the game light while adding to its charm. Conversation portraits in a stick figure style are done just well enough to call for a laugh as you watch Gus grow more exasperated with each second of an unwanted conversation, many of which are hilarious to read.
The game has a small score, but is a fun one nonetheless. Menus are interspersed with various sound effects from the game, and level music and cues add to the overall light-hearted atmosphere. The music does not play too big a role, but for a game like Gotta Go, it does not need to.
Though the core gameplay is short, you can unlock thirteen various “toppings” as well, which serve as gameplay modifiers. They change the way you amass points and have both positive and negative effects. Of course, there are achievements too. Thus, while the overall playtime if you strive to acquire each of these is extended, it should only clock in around three or four hours depending on your mastery of the game.
With a $4.99 asking price, this isn’t a bad deal if you are looking for a fun little distraction. Plus, the game raises awareness for the ‘No stomach for cancer’ research organization, so your dollars do some good! The developers have not released any major updates, but judging from other player experiences, the game runs well for virtually everyone and is a smooth experience.
In the end, Gotta Go is a fun, funny and unique arcade-style game. If anything, pick it up during a sale and you will have a great time.